Damaged (2024) Ending, Explained: Who is the Serial Killer?

Helmed by Terry McDonough, ‘Damaged’ is a 2024 action thriller film that doesn’t shy away from depicting the atrocities and motives of a determined serial killer. Known for his work in crime dramas, McDonough adeptly illustrated the gruesome yet methodical chain of murders committed by a mysterious and dedicated man. While the film is courted to be an action thriller, it uses many mystery genre tropes and packs them into a narrative that is guaranteed to keep most of the viewers at the edge of their seats. The captivating ending of the movie is intricate enough to give birth to multiple questions regarding the killers and their actions! SPOILERS AHEAD.

Damaged Plot Synopsis

The film follows Dan Lawson (Samuel L. Jackson), a detective from Chicago who leaves for Scotland after a series of mysterious murders surfaces in the city of Edinburgh, resembling an unsolved serial killer case he investigated years earlier. Lawson teams up with Scottish detective Glen Boyd (Gianni Capaldi) and they try to hunt down the cloaked murderer and put an end to the gruesome crimes haunting the streets of Edinburgh.

The murders the Scottish authorities are dealing with are nearly identical to the ones that took place in Chicago. The first couple of killings that take place in the city are of Abigail and Grace and the crimes are nearly indistinguishable from one another. The duo eventually put together the clues as a potential suspect named Colin McGregor arises. However, McGregor is a hard shell to crack and utilizes the presence of his lawyer when confronted with an interrogation.

Damaged Ending: Who Committed the Chicago Murders?

Unable to get anything out of McGregor through their interrogation, Boyd and Lawson keep digging for more information. McGregor, however, informs them about the involvement of a foreigner. Then, the unthinkable happens as Boyd returns home and sees his wife Marie murdered and dismembered in the same fashion. Distraught and angry, Boyd will do anything to put McGregor behind bars, but his alibi is firm, as the authorities cannot charge him with anything. In another radical twist of fate, McGregor is found dead in his home, when Boyd is snooping around his property. He sees an entire board filled with photographs of the victims, along with information on their routines. McGregor meticulously planned each of his attacks, but surprisingly, there was no picture of Marie.

Lawson, here, points out something crucial. He tells Boyd that McGregor did not kill Marie because her murder was a carbon copy of the ones committed in Chicago, unlike the other two, which only shared a resemblance. Here, we get to know that McGregor is the copycat and that the real serial killer is still out there. Lawson explains that McGregor had really angered the real serial killer by trying to copy his work. He adds to Boyd that whoever killed McGregor also killed Marie.

Lawson then logs on to the website of ATEM Security, where McGregor had worked previously. There, he comes across an interesting image of the late killer with Walker Bravo. Lawson calls up Bravo and asks him about the picture with McGregor. Bravo, who is initially hesitant, caves into the pressure and asks to meet Lawson in person. As Bravo makes his way to Lawson, Boyd starts to believe that Bravo is the foreigner McGregor was talking about. He immediately calls Lawson and tells him about his assumption, but the latter is in the middle of a conversation with Bravo.

Lawson confronts Bravo about his connection with the Chicago murders and McGregor, but during this time, the overarching truth is revealed. Lawson opens a small container holding pieces of jewelry from the victims, revealing that he was the one responsible for the killings in Chicago. Lawson adds that he knew Bravo and the love of his life Sarah were having an affair.

In a flashback, it is revealed that Lawson confronted Sarah about the affair and accidentally pushed her in the heated moment, which resulted in her slipping, hitting her head, and eventually dying. Lawson’s convoluted ideals took over him as he sought to “erase the stench” of Bravo’s sin. He dismembered her body and disposed of the torso, and even though the parts were placed symbolically, Lawson admitted that it wasn’t planned to look like that. He did the same to four other victims: the hotel receptionist at the place they stayed in, the florist who sold Bravo flowers, the jeweler who sold the necklace to Bravo, and the waiter who served them food, who all seemingly played a part in their affair. Lawson killed them all because they were present in Bravo and Sarah’s relationship, and now finally, he’s reached the end of his hot streak with Bravo in his sights.

Lawson admits to having the potential to kill Bravo in the past. However, he chose to witness his partner getting tortured with pain. In the end, a fight breaks out between Lawson and Bravo, and as the latter tries to take the gun away from the former, he gets shot and falls. Meanwhile, Boyd arrives with a team of officers who are ready to apprehend Bravo. Lawson implores Boyd to end Bravo “like he did Sarah and Marie.” Just then, in Bravo’s dying words, he tells Boyd to look at the necklace on the table that Lawson showed him. Boyd notices the necklaces along with Lawson’s two fake passports and realizes that the killer is his new mentor but by then, Lawson has already left the scene of the crime.

Why Does McGregor Kill Abigail and Grace?

Throughout the film, the real killer remains elusive, however, we get to know that the copycat killer is McGregor. We are introduced to McGregor as Grace Hall’s ex-boyfriend. Her murder points Boyd and Lawson in his direction. Through an interrogation, underlying clues, and the help of Walker Bravo, they slowly figure out that he was once part of a religious cult called the Kildlaton Cross whose ideology was to have their own moral compass. With the second death quite legitimately connected to McGregor, they begin investigating the cult as Boyd reaches out to them firsthand.

Boyd goes to the cult’s church, only to find out that the members of the same don’t like McGregor. The leader of the cult reveals that McGregor was no longer one of them and that he didn’t comply with the rules of the cult. While the cult does “condemn the world,” its members don’t kill anyone based on their beliefs. The leader of the group adds that McGregor was different. Boyd gets the impression that they do not know much about McGregor or his actions as he isn’t necessarily related to the cult any longer.

McGregor, however, is a tough nut that doesn’t easily crack. In two instances of interrogations with the police, he is assisted by his lawyer, who doesn’t allow him to give up too much information. He is safe behind his alibi as he manages to prove that he wasn’t at the scene of the crime during the murders. McGregor suddenly feels like he isn’t the person behind the crimes, but there is something very unsettling about him. In a disturbing scene, McGregor is seen outside Boyd’s house, masturbating while looking at the police officer’s wife, Marie. Later, Boyd finds his wife dead in their home, only to believe that McGregor is behind the crime.

Things take a drastic turn as McGregor is found dead and dismembered, similar to the previous murders. Lawson then tells Boyd that McGregor didn’t kill Marie as the duo doesn’t find any images of Marie among the pictures McGregor had stored of his victims. Lawson also reveals that McGregor had probably angered the real serial killer by being a threat to their masterwork. Lawson’s words make it clear that McGregor is the copycat.

It isn’t until the confrontation between Lawson and Bravo that we get to know the truth. Lawson reveals McGregor’s intentions, explaining that the latter killed both Abigail and Grace because the religious maniac believed that they were on a lost path and deserved the punishment. McGregor’s greatest flaw was attracting the attention of the real serial killer, Lawson. In the end, his serial killings are stopped due to his untimely demise. The religious revolution he set out to achieve is derailed by a seasoned killer who is willing to do anything to cover up his tracks.

Why Does Lawson Kill Marie and McGregor?

In addition to the Chicago murders, Lawson also kills Marie and McGregor. Earlier, in a heart-to-heart conversation with Lawson, Boyd reveals that after his son’s death, there was a very firm distance that was created between him and Marie. He buried himself in work, while she resorted to being unfaithful in the hopes that it would ease her pain. Lawson, who believes himself to be a man of principle, ultimately kills Marie for her actions against a mourning Boyd. Sarah and Marie committed the same deceit, giving him more reason to kill the latter as well. Lawson kills her in the same fashion as he completely dismembers her and then disposes of her torso, just as he did with Sarah.

Lawson sees McGregor as a threat to his anonymity. He immediately agrees to be a part of the investigation when he finds out that there is someone in Scotland who is trying to copy his work, even though the copycat hasn’t been good at copying. The detective knows that whoever the copycat is, he can jeopardize the former’s cover and destroy his current freedom.

Lawson set out to get rid of the copycat in the same way he has disrupted his cover. He kills McGregor because he tries to copy his work by murdering two girls. Lawson is aware that McGregor is nothing but a copycat whose actions can re-open the Chicago investigation and put the police on his trail, which makes him get rid of the latter. Lawson uses the opportunity to come to Scotland to get rid of McGregor and his worst enemy Walker Bravo. In the end, he succeeds in completing both missions.

Read More: Damaged: Is the Samuel L. Jackson Film a True Story?